From the intelligence that had been slowly ripen-
ing in the mind of cultivated humanity, sprung the American Revolution
, which was designed to organize social union through the establishment of personal freedom, and thus emancipate the nations from all authority not flowing from themselves.
In the old civilization of Europe
, power moved from a superior to inferiors and subjects; a priesthood transmitted a common faith, from which it would tolerate no dissent; the government esteemed itself, by compact or by divine right, invested with sovereignty, dispensing protection and demanding allegiance.
But a new principle, far mightier than the church and state of the Middle Ages
, was forcing itself into power.
Successions of increasing culture and heroes in the world of thought had conquered for mankind the idea of the freedom of the individual; the creative but long latent energy that resides in the collective reason was next to be revealed.
From this the state was to emerge, like the fabled spirit of beauty and love out of the foam of the ever-troubled ocean.
It was the office of America to substitute for hereditary privilege the natural equality of man; for the irresponsible authority of a sovereign, a dependent government emanating from the concord of opinion; and as she moved forward in her high career, the multitudes of every clime gazed towards her example with hopes of untold happiness, and all the nations of the earth sighed to be renewed.
The American Revolution, of which I write the history, essaying to unfold the principles which organized its events, and bound to keep faith with the ashes of its heroes, was most radical in its character, yet achieved with such benign tranquillity, that even conservatism hesitated to censure.
A civil war armed